The Year of the Horse
Chinese New Year
4712 (or 2014) is the year of the horse
Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar.
The Chinese year 4712 begins on Jan. 31, 2014.
Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar,
with each month beginning on the darkest day.
New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth,
when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.
A Charming New Year
Legend has it that in ancient times,
Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year.
Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one.
He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality.
Those born in horse years are cheerful, skillful with money, perceptive, witty, talented and good with their hands.
Rembrandt, Harrison Ford, Aretha Franklin, Chopin, Sandra Day O’Connor, and President Theodore Roosevelt were born in the year of the horse.
Fireworks and Family Feasts
At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes,
decorate with poems on red paper, and give children “lucky money” in red envelopes.
Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck.
The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom.
Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.
The Spring Festival is a start for a new year, so it is regarded as the omen of a year.
People have many taboos during this period.
Many bad words related to “death”, “broken”, “killing”, “ghost” and “illness” or “sickness” are forbidden during conversations.
In some places, there are more specific details.
They consider it unlucky if the barrel of rice is empty, because they think they will have nothing to eat in the next year.
Taking medicine is forbidden on this day, otherwise, people will have sick for the whole year and take medicine constantly.